The Spanish capital city is a treasure that can be cherished even without visiting its museums. However, to get the full experience you can squeeze between the fiestas and siestas some cultural places that you will not regret visiting.
Museo del Prado
Found in the center of Madrid, you can clearly see it after eating some paella.
The exhibits found here are from the 12th century to the early 20th century, and many of them present the splendid Spanish culture with many of them signed by Francisco Goya, El Greco, Peter Paul Rubens, Titian, Diego Velasquez, and many other artists.
However, be prepared to wander the many halls and take a good pair of shoes because the museum is huge. I feel like when I saw it, I missed some rooms (so I should revisit it).
One ticket is 15 euros, but there are some hours when you can visit it for free: from Monday to Saturday between the hours 6 PM and 8 PM, or on Sundays and on holidays from 5 PM to 7 PM (keep in mind that you have to arrive at least 30 minutes before closing time). But if you want to be the first person to visit the museum, then arrive at 10 when it opens and stay however much you would like (or until the guards toss you out).
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
You cannot leave Madrid without seeing both of these museums. If in Prado you can see art made between the 12th century and the early 20th century, then for modern art go to Museo Reina Sofia where you will find art from the 20th and 21st century (especially paintings by Picasso and Salvador Dali).
Named after queen Sofia (the former queen of Spain) the recent museum wants to honor modern art.
A ticket is 12 euros, but there are many possibilities to go for free (if you are under 18 years old or if you are a student under 25 years old, for example). And again, if you arrive between 7 PM and 9 PM from Monday to Saturday (except on Tuesday when the museum is closed) or from 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM on Sunday you can visit the museum free.
Parque del Buen Retiro
Not every place you visit must be inside four walls. You can also go to a park to hide from the heat.
After you saw Prado you can go and rest your feet at the nearest park, in our case the park El Retiro. You can take a break here or you can try to find some of the treasures that the park hides: the pond, the rose garden, a couple of small museums, outdoor exercising areas (for old and young people), or playgrounds for children.
If you are lucky then you might arrive during the Book Fair when the people from Madrid bring their old books, or newspapers and leave them here for other people to take home. Of course, you should take a book in Spanish and try to improve your Spanish with it for the next time you visit the country.
Puerta del Sol or the km 0 from Madrid
Another place found outside where you do not have to pay any money to visit.
This square is famous for being one of the busiest places in Madrid. If you visit the capital city during New Year’s Eve you have to be here before the clock strikes for the new year because the clock found here marks the tradition of eating the 12 grapes and making a wish.
If you visit during the other months, then you can look and find the most remarkable buildings from Spain and then find the plaque where the famous km 0 is found.